The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel- Book Review


“Sometimes you have to hurt people just to prove that you are alive”


Off in the flat plains of Kansas, just outside the relatively dead town of Osage Flats, stands a house simply known as Roanoke. It appears out in the distance, a mix match of many houses nailed together without any thought of architecture. Random rooms, turrets, brick and wood added on like an afterthought, giving the appearance of a back woods fun house. However, the outside of the house can seem normal compared to what happens within the walls of Roanoke.

Lane Roanoke grew up in a vastly different place, but after her mother’s suicide, she is brought from New York City back to the place of her mother’s birth, the place her mother referred to as a nightmare, back to Roanoke. There she meets for the first time her Granddad Yates Roanoke, Gran and her similar in age cousin Allegra. What unfolds in this house after sends her running just at the end of her first summer there.

A phone call from Granddad in the middle of the night brings Lane back to Roanoke, just when she thought she had completely left it behind. Allegra has gone missing, and possibly the only person who can figure out the cryptic clues she left behind is Lane. But can Lane face Roanoke again, without letting the disease of the house and family seep back into her bones? Can she face the people she left behind with no warning? Can she cross back over the bridges she burned in her wake, for Allegra’s sake?

“I’ve learned by now that life picks away at all of us, backs us into corners we never anticipated. Turns us into people we never thought we’d become.”

The Roanoke Girls is a haunting and at sometimes stomach turning story of a families marred past and present. To be a  Roanoke girl is like a blessing and a curse, which each girl has to figure out for herself. Reading this book was like watching a car wreck, its so horrifyingly magnetic, everything in you screams to look away but you cannot overcome the curiosity of your own internal sickness. So I give you this warning: read at your own risk.

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review.